DEAR ABBY:

I co-signed a college loan for my grandson. Unfortunately, he didn't earn passing grades and was kicked out. He frequently misses loan payments, and I end up getting a late payment letter.

I am afraid his inattention to this debt will adversely affect my credit. I can make the late payment or pull the money out of my savings and pay off the loan. If I pay off the loan, I plan to deduct that amount from his inheritance.

He's very apologetic about it when I talk to him, but I'm tired of it hanging over my head. How should I handle this?

- Tired of paying

DEAR TIRED OF PAYING: Your grandson's irresponsibility will reflect on your credit if it hasn't already. Pay off the loan and do not co-sign for him again. He should repay the money he borrowed from you as well as any penalties when he begins earning his own money. However, if he doesn't, you are within your rights to deduct the amount from his inheritance.

Comfortably numb?

DEAR ABBY: I have become completely unemotional. I don't feel sad when there is a death. I feel no joy when I see a baby and, in fact, think people are selfish for having children in the world we live in today. When a couple gets married, I also feel - nothing.

I'm 66 and have a great life with no health or financial problems. I'm friendly when I'm out in public, although I'd rather be left alone. I'm not miserable. I am just burned out on human beings and feel numb. What's up with me?

- Abnormal in Arkansas

DEAR ABNORMAL: Have you seen your doctor during the past year? If not, you should, to rule out a physical illness. If there's nothing physically wrong, you may be describing something called "ennui" - a kind of world-weariness. (An old song performed by Peggy Lee titled "Is That All There Is?" which you can find on YouTube, expresses it perfectly.)

A change in your routine may give you the jolt you need. If you aren't in the habit of doing it, 30 minutes of brisk daily exercise might give you a lift. However, if that doesn't help your malaise, some sessions with a licensed mental health professional may help you understand why you've been feeling the way you do.